You’ve got a new idea.  Maybe you even have the startup knowledge to execute.  If your startup idea is a good one, you’ve identified a user problem and you’re offering a solution.  You know your market fit because you’ve studied your competitors and believe your product is simpler, more accessible, and vastly superior.  Summed up, you have a vision, and vision is how entrepreneurs blast their startups into the stratosphere…

but…

If your head’s in your ass, you can’t see the stars.  If your vision is too narrow or overconfident, those blinders are going to keep your startup from going anywhere.  Letting change enhance your startup’s development will help your product better meet customer needs and increase its chance at success.  Change doesn’t have to be destructive to your vision, and it won’t be if you pivot using lean startup principles.

Successful startups don’t go straight from the brain to the marketplace.  Getting overanxious about the release of your product can doom it before launch.   You may have an idea of your target demographic and how they’ll respond, but it has to be more than speculation.  User feedback is one of the most vital aspects of agile development, but that doesn’t mean just surveying a potential user-base, it includes getting a working prototype into their hands.  With a build-measure-learn approach, you’ll stay flexible, user needs will drive your changes – you’ll be able to pivot.

A pivot is a controlled adjustment that tests a new hypothesis about your product or startup business.  It’s a new strategy that might alter your MVP (minimum viable product) but can set your idea toward a greater sustainability.  Most of all, it allows for continuous innovation.

Your evolution should be determined by customer needs, not dogmatic visions.  It’s all about discovery and being able to change course quickly and efficiently when something new is uncovered.  These early discovery pivots can help you find your market fit well before your budget is drained and well before you’re at the point of no return.

Throughout product development you’re always learning, and every pivot is a response to something learned.  It’s an answer to new information, not a lack of it.  A pivot should be toward what is working, not just a pivot away from what’s not.  Of course with lean startup, these pivots are built-in to the methodology.   It’s not a takeaway from your vision, it simply strengthens it.

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heisenbergmedia/

Author

CEO and Co-founder of Rootstrap Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Rootstrap, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.